I was first called for County court jury duty thirty-two years ago when I was 26. I served as a juror on a criminal trial for a week. It was a kidnapping, assault, attempted rape, attempted murder case. The guy that we convicted was a repeat offender. The judge kept the jury after it was all over to tell us we’d done the right thing. The creep had just gotten out of prison, having served time for doing the exact same crime.
Seven years later at age 33 I was called for County court again. I made it as far as a courtroom and then we were told the parties had settled so we were thanked for our service and sent home.
Seven years later at age 40 my old friend County court called me again. This time I phoned in for almost a week, and they didn’t need me to come in.
I went eighteen years without hearing a peep. I got home tonight and found a jury duty summons waiting for me. Not County court this time. Oh, no, that would be too easy. This time it was US District Court, and it’s not a week worth of commitment. Oh, no, this time my commitment is for ninety days. Ninety. Days. I’m on the hook from July 12th until October 11th.
If I don’t get on a trial, I remain on call for ninety days. I’m not sure what happens if I do serve on a trial. Am I done, or do I stay on call? Like any jury duty summons, there’s no way out of it. I’m stuck.
If only they’d waited another twelve years. If I were 70, I could get excused. If I were caring for babies or the elderly, I could get excused. If I was considered essential to my job, I could get excused. While I’d like to think I’m pretty important, I don’t think the court would agree.
So I’ll have a new experience whether I want one or not. Maybe I should add blue and purple highlights to the pink in my hair if I have to report. I’d make a statement anyway.